A couple recruiting stories from the past:
If you think when coaches visit high schools, they just cordially greet other, it doesn’t always happen. Maybe 99 percent of the time, but not always.
I remember hearing from a coach at Valencia High School that Ed Orgeron visited shortly after Paul Hackett had been fired in 2000, still recruiting for USC.
A UCLA assistant just happened to be there at the same time. “What are you doing here? You don’t even have a coach.”
The Valencia coach said, “some of us thought Orgeron was going to drop the guy. We got between them just in case.”
Orgeron was retained by Pete Carroll, of course, and USC started rolling in recruiting and on the field.
I could name the UCLA assistant, but he is still coaching. Maybe in the future.
- And now I want some detail to a recruiting story involving Richard Wood, who went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, N.J.
In 1970, a USC assistant coach was picked up at the airport by legendary coach Frank Cicarell, who was wearing a fedora and driving a huge Lincoln-Continental. When they got to the high school, Cicarell parked in front of the school in a red zone.
“Don’t worry,” Cicarell said, “The police station is across the street. They know me.”
When they got out of the Lincoln, Cicarell had about 10 players lined up, including Wood and Gil Chapman, who Parade magazine called the “No. 1 player in America” and went to Michigan.
The school also had future Notre Dame basketball player John Shumate.
Wood told the assistant coach he wanted to go to USC. Maybe the easiest recruiting job USC ever had for a three-time All-American.